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High school senior shares how he is navigating the transition to college during the pandemic

In the next few weeks, many students will need to decide which university they plan to attend. Here's how to navigate the transition to college.

WASHINGTON — College decision day is right around the corner but there is still a lot up in the air for high school seniors who are preparing to leave for college.

Many students were not able to physically travel to a school campus to visit in-person because of the pandemic. Instead, some students turned to virtual tours to get a feel for the campus before

Jacob Coleman is a high school senior preparing to take the next step as a college freshman.

“Everything is slowly getting back to normal so I’m trying to hopefully get the college experience and not be online," said high school senior Jacob Coleman.

Coleman is preparing to take the next step as a college freshman but was unable to travel to visit colleges during the pandemic.

"That’s been way different, you know we really didn’t have the experience to go visit the schools I wanted to. My brother started something called The College Tours and that gave me an outlook on numerous schools to pick from and have an idea of what the campus is like so that helped me a lot during this process," said Coleman.

Many schools this year are requiring or recommending students receive the COVID vaccine before returning to campus. 

"They actually made a mandate that to attend East Carolina University, you need to be vaccinated in the fall. I already got my shot so I’m fully vaccinated and that’s already good so I don’t have to worry about that," said Coleman

RELATED: Georgetown, American University will require COVID-19 vaccines for students

RELATED: Here's how the pandemic is impacting college admissions

With so many changes during the last year, the founder of College Shortcuts said they've spent most of the pandemic helping families deal with the evolving college admission process.

"A lot of change can be difficult for students. They thought they were going to walk into this year, go on their spring break college trips and know everything they wanted to do and they didn’t. We need to have a little grace for students right now and during the next several years," said founder of College Shortcuts Neha Gupta.

Gupta said during the last year they have seen the emphasis shift from the focus on test scores to a greater emphasis on the student's story.

"The colleges are really shifting the way they look at students. Instead of having these accept and reject piles based on numbers and scores, since there’s been a shift in the SAT and the exams and the experience going virtual or in person so grades are slightly different. All of these shifts can affect how a student tests," said Gupta.

Just this year College Board made a permanent change in announcing they will stop SAT II testing, which is an added exam showing knowledge in a specific field.

"This is the first time we’ve ever seen that. I remember taking the SAT II and we had so many students take it to show off either math, science or english language skills. For the first time, College Board decided to cancel these exams. 

The essay prompt on the college application is another big change in the admission process.

"This is a personal development question. Normally the questions are a little bit more rational a little bit more about problems or researching something and a solution. Common app is now launching essay prompts in relation to what’s happening in the world today," said Gupta.

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